My first two predictions for 2020 — IBM and Trump

For 20+ years I’ve been writing predictions every January and I guess I’m doing another set now. But this time will be different for several reasons. For one, January is almost over, so it will slough over into February. For another, I always start by going back to the year before and grading my previous year’s predictions. I’m the only guy in this business who does that. But this year I am going to bury the score a bit because I need to start with a prediction or two simply because both are immediate and really can’t wait.  So I’ll do the scoring on Monday, but today I have two 2020 predictions to […]

Looking back at Y2K from the Trump Era

Recently I came across an old column I wrote a decade ago on the 10th anniversary of Y2K. You can find it in my archive along with a thousand more, but I am also reproducing it, below. For those who have forgotten Y2K or are too young to remember it, the crisis was Climate Change for an earlier era. It was a very real global problem that turned out to be anticlimactic only because we as a society took heroic efforts to handle it. We should be so lucky today.

The column holds up fairly well, I think, and its major lessons are worth remembering. If anything, it’s even more relevant today because we are living in the Trump era of bombast […]

Not dead yet! What Bob Cringely has been up to…

A few days ago I tweeted something and a reader reacted, saying about Cringely, “I thought he was dead!” Not dead yet, but I should probably explain my disappearance a few months ago from life in print. I’ve just been too busy working for a living. How does a 67-year-old hack with three minor children recover from going blind, losing his home and business in a horrible fire (like 2,000 others, we are still fighting with insurance companies), while appeasing an angry crowd of Kickstarter supporters armed with pitchforks and shovels? In my case, I went looking for venture money to recapitalize MineServer and I simultaneously started a satellite launch company to fund […]

The Future of Television

How is a television like a fax machine? They are both obsolete.

Remember a time when nobody had a fax machine? Then suddenly everybody had a fax machine. And now nobody again has a fax machine. What would have previously come by fax today is a PDF attachment to an e-mail or text or to one of a number of messaging services. Well the same transformation is happening to traditional television and for generally similar reasons. And just as fax machines seemed to disappear in just a few years, I’ll be surprised if broadcast TV in the U.S. survives another decade.

Technology transformations are like murders: they require motive, method, and […]

Prediction #5 — Drones become Pizza-to-the-Neighborhood (PTTN)

I’ve already written one prediction about autonomous cars — that they’ll be far later to the market than most pundits and autonomous car inventors are suggesting. Today’s prediction is about a tangentially-related technology — aerial delivery drones. These drones are definitely coming just as fast as regulators will allow them, but I don’t think they’ll be implemented in the way people expect. What we’ll see, I predict, is something I call Pizza-to-the-Neighborhood or PTTN.

Aerial drones are a new type of distribution network operating in a new kind of ether. They don’t travel on roads and neither do they travel in what we conventionally think of as airspace. […]